Just a sec! A comparative study of the changing role of secretarial staff in Australia and New Zealand

Paper


Maguire, Heather J.. 1996. "Just a sec! A comparative study of the changing role of secretarial staff in Australia and New Zealand." Browne, Michael (ed.) 10th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (ANZAM 1996). Wollongong, Australia 04 - 07 Dec 1996 Woolongong, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Just a sec! A comparative study of the changing role of secretarial staff in Australia and New Zealand

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorMaguire, Heather J.
EditorsBrowne, Michael
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 10th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (ANZAM 1996)
Journal Citation1, pp. 31-50
Number of Pages20
Year1996
Place of PublicationWoolongong, Australia
ISBN0729903559
Conference/Event10th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (ANZAM 1996)
Event Details
10th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (ANZAM 1996)
Parent
Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference
Delivery
In person
Event Date
04 to end of 07 Dec 1996
Event Location
Wollongong, Australia
Abstract

Little progress has been made in Australia and New Zealand towards achieving gender balance in management. One factor that has received little consideration in seeking explanations for this lack of progress is the lack of recognition given to professional secretaries. This paper reports a study of 600 members of professional secretarial associations in Australia and new Zealand. The major purpose of the study was to assess the relevance of the 'ghetto' thesis (Benet, 1972) to this type of work. Also investigated during the study were any possible links between industry type, sector or size of organisation and the status of secretarial work.

The study clearly shows that, although secretarial work still displays many of the characteristics of 'ghetto' occupations, professional secretaries are undertaking a large number of management-type tasks and that autonomy levels experienced are very similar to those of management. Industry, sector and organisational size were shown to have little effect on the status of secretarial work indicating that the factors restricting opportunities and rewards for secretarial workers are extra-organisational rather than intra-organisational in nature and based on deeply entrenched perceptions of this highly feminised occupation. A number of theoretical perspectives are investigated to help explain why this group of workers has remained partly ghettoised. Explanation is given of a number of factors limiting organisational progress which are restricted to secretaries rather than affecting female employees in general.

Keywordssecretarial work; ghetto occupations; gender;
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440599. Gender studies not elsewhere classified
350709. Organisation and management theory
350503. Human resources management
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
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